Permit me a brief poetic indulgence.
I remember you well in the Chelsea Hotel
you were famous, your heart was a legend.
You told me again you preferred handsome men
but for me you would make an exception.
And clenching your fist for the ones like us
who are oppressed by the figures of beauty,
you fixed yourself, you said, “Well never mind,
we are ugly but we have the music.”
– Leonard Cohen, Chelsea Hotel
No, this is not a love song, but a note on my relationship with beer and the communities it supports. Craft brewers don’t have national ad campaigns, deep pockets to promote their brands or anything typically demanded by today’s pop culture to be beautiful. What we have are people like Don Younger, people who have passion and devotion to their communities, communities that include great beer.
Don died today. The beer world will mourn his passing and tributes will be written, glasses will be spilled and stories will be told. Tell them well, drink up and celebrate those who advocate local beer – not because it’s sexy or popular, but because it’s made by people that live in and support their communities. “People just want to get back to their communities” was a phrase Don told me time and time again in an interview I had with him in 2007. With that in mind, I remember his more famous quote: “it’s not about the beer, it’s about the beer.” For Don, beer was community – it was local, his bar brought locals together and was / is a vibrant part of the community feel. So today, don’t just drink a beer that you think you’re supposed to like, drink a beer made locally – preferably in your favorite local watering hole.